Amazon today announced the launch of Amazon Future Engineer, its global computer science (CS) education program, in India. The program will enable access to quality CS education and career opportunities for students from underrepresented and underserved communities. In the first year of its launch, Amazon aims to enable and deliver CS learning opportunities to more than 1 lakh students from 900 government and aided schools across seven states in India.
While a million students enroll in CS engineering courses annually in India, the participation of students from underserved and underrepresented communities remains significantly low on account of multiple factors, including low exposure to CS-related career opportunities, lack of inspirational role models in their community, and language barriers to access interesting curriculum formats. Further, smartphone penetration in India is significantly higher than availability of computers; and yet most existing CS learning modules and online content are not mobile-friendly, instead leaning on the computer as a medium, which acts as an additional impediment for students.
Amazon Future Engineer, the comprehensive childhood-to-career community program, aims to address this gap by bringing early exposure and access of CS education to students through in-person, online and blended learning formats. Amazon is working with its global knowledge partner Code.org, a global non-profit organization dedicated to computer science education, to bring high quality and mobile interactive CS content to Indian students. Taking the local nuances into account, the curriculum has been contextualized for the Indian teacher and student community in government school settings, and will offer students coding fundamentals along with future-focused tech courses like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (Voice Technology) in Indian languages.
Amazon will partner with multiple education-focused non-profit organizations to take quality CS education to the students of government schools across the states of Karnataka, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Telangana. The initiative will primarily focus on students in grades 6-12, and will also train teachers and educators to teach computer science in a more engaging way. Apart from enabling content and curriculum, Amazon Future Engineer will also help students discover and explore the world of Computer Science and its application in the real world, through hands-on experiences. Initiatives will include ‘Class Chats’ through which students meet Amazonians to understand tech industry careers, and ‘Amazon Cyber Robotics Challenge’ where students learn programming basics while coding robots and discover how Amazon uses robotics to deliver millions of products around the globe.
“Students from underserved communities in India face disproportionate barriers to education, especially in the field of computer science. We are thrilled to bring the Amazon Future Engineer initiative to India, as we believe that all young people, irrespective of their backgrounds, should have the right exposure and accessibility to quality computer science education. We aim to bring the Computer Science curriculum closer to these students in the languages of their comfort and choice, empower them with right skills and tools to be able to expand their career outlook,” said Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India. “We hope students emerge more confident and skilled to be responsible creators of technology solutions and build a better future for themselves, and communities around them,” Amit added.
“We’ve been honored to work with the Amazon Future Engineer initiative in many countries for several years and we’re excited to strengthen our partnership as Amazon launches the program in India,” said Hadi Partovi, Founder and CEO of Code.org. “We look forward to working closely with Amazon Future Engineer’s network of partners in India to provide our high-quality Computer Science curriculum and best practices as they enable students across the country to learn this foundational 21st-century subject.”
“Over the past several years that we have been working with government school systems, we have seen how providing equitable learning opportunities can transform not just the lives of their students, but of families and teachers around them. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills acquired by learning Computer Science have the potential to break opportunity barriers for underprivileged children in India,” said Kruti Bharucha, Founder and CEO, Peepul India. “We are excited to partner with Amazon Future Engineer to take the joy of learning and applying Computer Science in real-life to children across India and bring equity in the space of learning.”
Over the next few years, Amazon India will continue to scale the program and expand the bouquet of CS related education offerings in India. Amazon Future Engineer will also amplify its support to students through scholarships, internships, problem-solving hackathon events, and targeted mentorship programs by Amazonians. Schools, administrators, and teachers interested in participating in Amazon Future Engineer